Cincinnati Reds – MLB Trade Rumors 2019-10-22T15:43:42Z WordPress Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Position Players Recently Electing Free Agency]]> 2019-10-22T14:43:24Z 2019-10-22T12:06:20Z Since the conclusion of the regular season, a number of players have elected free agency. That right accrues to certain players who are outrighted off of a 40-man roster during or after the season — namely, those that have at least three years of MLB service and/or have previously been outrighted. Such players that accepted outright assignments during the season have the right to elect free agency instead at season’s end, provided they aren’t added back to the 40-man in the meantime.

Here are the position players that have recently taken to the open market, along with their now-former teams (via the International League and PCL transactions pages):

Anthony Franco <![CDATA[Reds, Red Sox Discussed Bradley Trade Last Offseason]]> 2019-10-20T16:38:51Z 2019-10-20T16:08:20Z
  • The Reds discussed Jackie Bradley, Jr. with the Red Sox last offseason, relays the Cincinnati Enquirer’s Bobby Nightengale. While there’s no indication talks progressed very far or have picked up since, it’s still noteworthy to hear Cincinnati’s front office liked the player not too long ago. Bradley’s one of the offseason’s most obvious trade candidates, as we’ve already heard rumblings Boston would shop him this winter to ameliorate payroll concerns. MLBTR’s Connor Byrne recently explored Bradley’s market in full and noted that the Reds have some uncertainty in center field if they believe Nick Senzel to be more valuable at second base. Bradley didn’t have a banner 2019 season and comes with a rather significant arbitration projection ($11MM), but the free agent market in center field isn’t particularly robust.
  • ]]>
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Reds Outright Juan Graterol]]> 2019-10-18T19:53:02Z 2019-10-18T19:53:02Z The Reds announced Friday that catcher Juan Graterol cleared waivers after being designated for assignment this week and has been sent outright to Triple-A Louisville. A a player who’s previously been outrighted, Graterol will have the opportunity to elect free agency, which seems likely with the offseason on the horizon.

    Graterol, 30, appeared in six games with Cincinnati this season and tallied four singles in 18 trips to the plate. He’s played sparingly in several big league stints across the past four seasons, compiling a .218/.227/.266 line in 129 plate appearances between the Angels, Twins and Reds. He’s also spent parts of six seasons in Triple-A, where he’s a career .277/.313/.340 hitter.

    While he’s not much of a threat at the plate, Graterol has been a plus framer, pitch blocker and thrower both in the upper minors and in the Majors. He boasts a 32 percent caught-stealing rate in the big leagues and a hefty 38 percent mark in parts of 14 minor league seasons. He’ll presumably draw interest among teams eyeing catching depth in the upper minors this winter, likely landing a minor league deal and an invite to big league Spring Training somewhere.

    Dylan A. Chase <![CDATA[Reds Claim Josh Smith, Designate Juan Graterol For Assignment]]> 2019-10-17T20:04:11Z 2019-10-16T21:32:26Z 4:45 pm: The Marlins have announced Smith’s claim, with an addendum indicating that Miami has also outrighted catcher Tyler Heineman and righty Hector Noesi to the Triple-A New Orleans roster. This puts Miami’s 40-man roster count at 37.

    2:47 pm: The Reds have claimed pitcher Josh Smith off of waivers from the Marlins, according to a tweet from C. Trent Rosecrans of The Athletic (link). In a corresponding move, Cincinnati has designated catcher Juan Graterol for assignment.

    The Marlins had claimed the left-handed Smith off of waivers from the Indians on Sept 14, making his time in the Miami organization exceedingly brief. Occasionally referred to as “Josh D. Smith” in order to avoid confusion, the lefty is a soft-tossing reliever with a largely fastball/slider dependent repertoire.  The 30-year-old played in both the Pirates and Red Sox organizations before making his big league debut with Cleveland in 2019; he ultimately made 14 appearances between the Indian and Marlin pens, logging a 6.39 ERA (4.32 FIP) in a small sample of 12.2 innings. Amir Garrett is the only lefty on-hand in the Cincinnati bullpen, so Smith could be a relatively no-cost flier for a club looking to broaden its mix-and-match capabilities.

    The 30-year-old Graterol first came up to the bigs with the Angels in 2016, but he’s never really been given an extended look in the majors. Across parts of three seasons, he’s received just 129 plate appearances at the game’s highest level, logging a meek .218/.227/.266 line with zero home runs. He spent most of 2019 at Triple-A in the Reds organization, logging a .249/.301/.325 slash through 226 plate appearances.

    Dylan A. Chase <![CDATA[Lorenzen Working With Bauer To Add Velocity ]]> 2019-10-12T23:18:13Z 2019-10-12T23:04:21Z
  • While any news involving Maxwell is likely to inspire some commenting forum debate, our second item comes with far less controversy. In a piece for The Cincinnati Enquirer, Bobby Nightengale profiles Reds hurler Michael Lorenzen’s offseason quest to add velo to his already-fearsome fastball (link). Notably, Lorenzen is planning to seek the tutelage of recently new teammate Trevor Bauer. “We’re talking about making my delivery more efficient where I’m actually able to throw harder with less effort,” Lorenzen said of his discussions with Bauer to this point. “That’s a real thing if you understand human anatomy and human movement. It’s a real thing. With my strength numbers and my power numbers and my movement quality, I should be throwing harder.” As Nightengale points out, Lorenzen already averaged 97.2 mph on his heater this past season en route to notching a 2.92 ERA across 83.1 innings out of the Cincy pen. If Bauer is able to replicate the success he had working with former Indians teammate Mike Clevinger–who added several ticks to his fastball under Bauer’s instruction–the Reds may find themselves with a truly terrifying late-inning option in the Orange County-bred Lorenzen.
  • ]]>
    TC Zencka <![CDATA[Reds Offense, Not The Bullpen, Responsible For Struggles In Close Games]]> 2019-10-12T14:15:40Z 2019-10-12T14:15:40Z The Reds bullpen crumbled down the stretch in 2019, but confidence remains high in their core group of high-impact relievers, per Bobby Nightengale of the Cincinnati Enquirer.

    They formed the league’s best unit over the first half of the season, but the pressure never let up as the Reds finished with more one-run margins than any other team in the game. 57 one-run games plus another 31 games with a two-run margin made the difference in an up-and-down season for Cincinnati. Interestingly, President of Baseball Ops pretty clearly assigned blame in these games to the offense, defending the bullpen in saying, “When they did let things get away, I think they were, at times, unfairly scrutinized because I really think when the offense had chances to provide separating runs, get big leads, jump out, we just didn’t get quite enough of that, taking pressure off the pitching at times.”

    The bullpen finished middle-of-the-pack by ERA, FIP, and fWAR, though admittedly closer to the top than the bottom. Despite all the close games, the unit still finished 25th in innings pitched, a good indicator for the starting rotation. All things considered, the Reds enter the offseason feeling pretty good about Raisel Iglesias, Michael Lorenzen, Amir Garrett, and Robert Stephenson making up the core of their relief unit.

    [RELATED – Three Needs: Cincinnati Reds]

    All signs point to another eventful winter for the Reds, but it’s the offense where Williams is focusing his attention. Despite some breakout power in the forms of Eugenio Suarez and Aristides Aquino, the Reds finished 25th in the majors in runs scored. Their offense as a whole finished with just an 87 wRC+, also ranking 25th in the MLB. They have a ways to go to join the league’s elite in this regard: 11 teams finished with 100+ weighted runs created plus, 8 of whom made the postseason. The Cardinals 95 wRC+ was the lowest of any team in the postseason.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Reds Could Try To Re-Sign Alex Wood To Minors Deal]]> 2019-10-09T04:03:28Z 2019-10-09T04:03:28Z
  • If the Reds are going to re-sign pending free-agent left-hander Alex Wood, Mark Sheldon of estimates it would happen by way of a minor league contract. Considering Wood’s past success and relative youth (29 in January), getting him to accept a non-guaranteed deal may be unrealistic. Regardless, it’s inarguable Wood is coming off a contract year to forget. Acquired from the Dodgers last winter, Wood made only seven starts and threw just 35 2/3 for the Reds this year as he battled nagging back issues. Wood managed an ugly 5.80 ERA/6.38 FIP with 7.57 K/9, 2.27 BB/9 and a 38.2 percent groundball rate when he was healthy enough to take the ball for Cincy.
  • ]]>
    Anthony Franco <![CDATA[Alex Wood Interested In Return To Cincinnati]]> 2019-10-07T00:46:08Z 2019-10-07T00:46:08Z
  • While Wainwright stayed healthy all season, the same can’t be said for left-hander Alex Wood, who started just seven games for the Reds after they sent two noteworthy prospects to the Dodgers to acquire him, Yasiel Puig, and Kyle Farmer last winter. Dealing with a back injury, Wood was ineffective when he did manage to take the mound, working to a 5.80 ERA with dreadful peripherals. It was hardly the platform season the 28 year-old (29 in January) wanted as he nears free agency for the first time. With the offseason offering an opportunity to get healthy, the sinkerballer tells Bobby Nightengale of he’d like to return to the Reds, admitting that his injury-riddled season wasn’t what the organization had in mind when they acquired him. As Nightengale notes, it’s difficult to see the Reds winning a bidding war for Wood given their strong staple of returning starters. That said, president of baseball operations Dick Williams has made clear the organization plans to be aggressive in free agency this offseason and wants to bolster the club’s pitching depth, so perhaps a Wood reunion could be in the cards depending on how his market shakes out.
  • ]]>
    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Dick Williams On Reds’ Offseason Plans]]> 2019-10-04T06:33:11Z 2019-10-04T06:33:11Z Reds president of baseball operations Dick Williams has made it known that the club’s front office is entering the offseason focused on building a playoff-caliber team for 2020. The Reds have failed in that regard six straight times, but the team aims to bolster its playoff chances for next season by upping its payroll. Williams explained the Reds’ approach to the upcoming offseason in an expansive Q&A with C. Trent Rosecrans of The Athletic (subscription required). It’s worth reading in full, but we’ll touch on a few of the highlights here.

    [RELATED – Three Needs: Cincinnati Reds]

    Cincinnati made almost all of its notable additions on the trade market last winter, picking up several household names (including right-hander Sonny Gray, who was superb this season). That continued into the summer with their acquisition of righty Trevor Bauer, who will join Gray, Luis Castillo and Anthony DeSclafani as locks for next year’s rotation. The Reds remain open to bettering their roster via trades now, but it seems an ideal scenario for Williams would be for him and general manager Nick Krall to make most of their hay in free agency.

    Williams told Rosecrans he expects Cincy will “be aggressive in trying to get some guys in free agency.” That’s a drastic change from last offseason, when the Reds’ lone guaranteed contract went to lefty reliever Zach Duke. That $2MM signing didn’t pan out, leading the Reds to release Duke in July.

    While Duke struggled as part of the Reds’ bullpen, fellow relievers Raisel Iglesias, Amir Garrett, Michael Lorenzen, Robert Stephenson and Matt Bowman each gave he club respectable or better production. All five of those hurlers are slated to return in 2020, though the Reds still “want to make sure we’re doing everything we can to improve the bullpen,” according to Williams.

    Upgrading starting depth, defense and team speed are also on the Reds’ to-do list, but there probably won’t be a bigger winter priority for the team than improving its offense. The Reds ended the year 25th in the majors in both runs scored (701) and wRC+ (87), and only third baseman Eugenio Suarez and the young outfield duo of Aristides Aquino and Jesse Winker provided well-above-average numbers over a sizable sample of plate appearances.

    Aquino, 25, started his career on an offensive rampage after an Aug. 1 promotion. He was a home run threat just about every time he stepped to the plate for a few weeks, becoming the fastest player ever to ever hit 15 (he did so in 122 PA). Aquino wound up with a prolific 19 in 225 trips to the plate, though his overall output tailed off badly over the final couple weeks of the campaign. Perhaps as a result of that, the Reds don’t want to gift him a starting spot in right field for next season.

    “He’s going to have to continue to earn it and improve and build and we will take the approach in the offseason that the outfield as a whole, you know, we will be trying to add,” said Williams.

    The Reds’ outfield next year could also continue to include Nick Senzel, a high-end infield prospect who transferred to center this season. Cincy was impressed with Senzel’s work in his first outfield action in the bigs, but Williams values Senzel’s flexibility and doesn’t want to commit to a 2020 position for him just yet. Whether the Reds add a starting-level second baseman or pick up a No. 1-caliber center fielder figures to influence where Senzel will primarily line up in a year. Indeed, the Reds’ middle infield “needs to be figured out,” acknowledged Williams, who revealed the Reds will “look into” re-signing pending free-agent shortstop Jose Iglesias. The light-hitting, defensively adept Iglesias proved to be a shrewd minor league signing for the club going into this season, but his ceiling isn’t particularly high. With that in mind, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Reds let him walk and pursue better options than him and the controllable talent on hand (namely Freddy Galvis and Jose Peraza).

    Between Suarez at the hot corner and Joey Votto at first, the rest of the team’s starting infield appears etched in stone going into 2020. Elsewhere, while Williams regards catchers Tucker Barnhart and Curt Casali as starting-caliber backstops, he admitted that “we could look to get more offensively out of the catching.” Big-hitting catcher Yasmani Grandal, a former Reds farmhand, headlines the class of backstops who are about to reach free agency. He has already been linked to the Reds in the rumor mill this week.

    Regardless of whether the Reds try to reunite with Grandal, it appears they’re shaping up to have one of the league’s most active offseasons. There’s “a strong emphasis on trying to win now,” Williams declared. “And win in the short term. We believe we will build a postseason team for 2020.”

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Three Needs: Cincinnati Reds]]> 2019-10-03T13:49:23Z 2019-10-03T13:49:23Z We’re continuing with our “Three Needs” series, in which we take a look at the chief issues to be addressed for clubs that have fallen out of contention. We’ll now turn to a Reds club that has its eyes fixed on returning to the postseason. Having already pulled off a surprising mid-season strike for veteran righty Trevor Bauer, the Reds will be looking to add a few more key pieces this winter.

    [Cincinnati Reds Depth Chart]

    1. Take Heed Of Other Teams’ Ramp-Up Difficulties

    When fans hear Cincinnati baseball ops chief Dick Williams speak of riding a bigger payroll to the postseason, they surely have flashbacks to the team’s recent 2010-13 inflection point. But they should shudder at the thought of what came before (nine-straight losing campaigns) and after (six straight) that four-season stretch. Williams and co. must work not only to get back to the promised land, but to create a sustainable (or at least more swiftly recoverable) means of doing so.

    As they ponder the possibilities, the Reds need to be mindful of the recent experiences of the NL-rival Rockies and Diamondbacks — two clubs that have historically occupied similar tax brackets while dealing with the challenges of offensively charged home parks. While the Colorado organization successfully cracked the postseason code for two-straight seasons, its ramped-up free-agent spending — especially, on multiple veteran relievers — didn’t deliver the hoped-for impact. The Rockies have rather swiftly found themselves in a tight payroll spot. Before that, the Snakes slammed the pedal to the floor a bit too hard — the Shelby Miller trade and Zack Greinke signing — and veered right off course.

    We’re not suggesting the Reds shouldn’t be excited to fling open a window of contention. But the club needs to measure its moves carefully, especially since it already parted with touted prospect Taylor Trammell in the Bauer swap. Running up payroll for a single season isn’t necessarily a problem, but the club can ill afford multiple, hefty, unproductive contracts like those the Rockies have accumulated. And it will be even more wary of Arizona-like over-exuberance that could cost a rare chance at an extended period of competitiveness.

    Precisely how to navigate things will depend upon the opportunities that arise. But the Reds can look to some other National League clubs for guidance. The Braves (Josh Donaldson, Dallas Keuchel) and Brewers (Yasmani Grandal) both cashed in with expensive, one-year deals. Had they fallen flat, the clubs would simply have shrugged and moved on. If the Reds are to place a longer-term bet, it probably shouldn’t come in a bidding war on a veteran reliever. Last year’s acquisition and extension of Sonny Gray would be hard to replicate, but spreading the cost over a slightly longer term (as the Rangers have with Lance Lynn and Mike Minor) could give the team a shot at landing a high-quality player at an affordable price.

    2. Pursue Upside Up The Middle

    It just so happens that the Reds are less-than-settled in the middle infield. Jose Iglesias turned in a solid campaign but is a free agent. Jose Peraza can be tasked with a utility role but not trusted as a regular. The club controls the rights to Freddy Galvis, but he should be a reserve on a contender. Nick Senzel is uber-talented and capable of playing center field or second base, so there’s some flexibility to work with for the Reds. There’s at least a sturdy floor behind the dish, but the defensively renowned Tucker Barnhart doesn’t have much of a bat.

    This may be the place for the Reds to strike. On the one hand, the upcoming open market isn’t laden with great possibilities. There are quite a few guys that have at times been solid or better middle infielders, but it’s awfully light on players that appear to be present-talent true regulars. And the center field market is barren. But that also reflects the fact that many teams are already settled in these areas. And there are some intriguing options, including the aforementioned Grandal as well as old friend and bounceback candidate Didi Gregorius. It’s far from clear what’ll be available via trade, but there could be some awfully appealing names dangled. The pie-in-the-sky trade candidates are Francisco Lindor and Marcus Semien, who can’t be ruled out entirely given their respective organizations’ long-view strategies. It’s much easier to envision Starling Marte coming available, and he’d be quite an interesting target with two cost-controlled seasons left on his deal. Jackie Bradley Jr. and Ender Inciarte are among the potentially available players that are somewhat interesting but lower-ceiling possibilities.

    Yep, the Reds still need to bear in mind the issues raised in item #1 above. An all-in strategy to go for Semien without an extension in place would likely not be wise. But if the Cincinnati club is going to go past its comfort zone a bit, it ought to be on a player who not only has a sturdy anticipated performance floor but also carries some real star potential. There are relatively few options, so they might need to be explored early. If nothing comes available at a reasonable price, the Reds can pivot to the many affordable options while seeing if anything has fallen through the cracks (Yasiel Puig???) in other areas.

    3. Don’t Forget Pitching Depth

    Yeah, the Reds got really nice output from their rotation this year and picked up Bauer to help lead the charge in 2020. And they have clear need to improve up the middle and/or with a new outfield bat. But this team could easily get in trouble if it doesn’t allocate some resources to protect the pitching staff, especially with Great American Ball Park as the backdrop.

    Here’s the thing to bear in mind when you start thinking about whether and how the Reds can build off of 2019: they are unlikely to enjoy such phenomenal pitching health. Aside from Alex Wood, who returned for seven starts after missing much of the season, the club’s starters were more or less always available when scheduled. And the relief corps received voluminous contributions from its best arms: Amir Garrett made 69 appearances; Robert Stephenson and Raisel Iglesias each cracked sixty innings; Michael Lorenzen threw 83 1/3 frames.

    While the Reds might not feel a need to chase improvement in the pitching staff, they ought to be relatively aggressive with spending 2020 cash on depth arms. There are a range of possibilities — the acquisition of a volume swingman, risking a bit of payroll space on a few durable veteran relievers, targeting optionable arms on waiver claims — but the overarching approach must build in some contingencies. Not doing so carries significant risk. Early-season pitching additions can be exceptionally pricey and it’s a long time to wait til the trade deadline when you’re trying to break back into the postseason.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Reds Will Have Bigger Payroll, Postseason Aspirations In 2020]]> 2019-10-03T00:03:36Z 2019-10-03T00:03:36Z While their 75-win tally fell far shy of postseason qualification, the Reds did crack seventy victories for the first time since 2014. Expectations are only ramping up from there, as club president of baseball operations Dick Williams made clear in his chat today with media members including Bobby Nightengale of the Cincinnati Enquirer.

    The measure of success in 2020 is unambiguous. Per Williams: “The goal for us now, all we’re talking about is the postseason. That’s what matters. That’s the goal next year. It’s not taking incremental steps in a rebuild. It’s about the postseason.”

    Getting there is going to require a massive effort, beginning with the hot stove efforts of the front office. Williams says he sees a path to an “even more impactful” offseason effort than he oversaw last year, because “we’ll have more financial resources at our disposal.” He went on to state plainly: “Our payroll will be bigger this year. There will be good opportunities to invest that payroll.”

    The Cincinnati ballclub already ramped its spending up significantly this year, opening the season with over $126MM on the books. There’s a bit less than sixty million committed already for 2020, before accounting for the arbitration salaries of Trevor Bauer, Anthony DeSclafani, Michael Lorenzen, Jose Peraza and others. That should leave a fair bit of breathing room to work with, particularly with the Opening Day payroll figure slated to rise.

    Williams didn’t exactly map out how the team intends to spend that cash, but did make clear that it isn’t going to “shy away from” a “big-dollar, multi-year contract.” There’ll be a healthy respect for avoiding too massive a commitment, he said, but made clear that open-market spending “is part of the strategy this year.”

    The Reds have quite a few pieces in place, but no shortage of areas to improve. There’s need in the middle infield and room for an outfield bat (especially after dealing away top prospect Taylor Trammell to acquire Bauer). It’s possible to imagine the club again exploring a better-hitting catcher. The rotation may need only a depth addition or two, but the bullpen could stand to be upgraded with multiple good arms.

    Figuring out how to sustain the pitching advances achieved in 2019 remains necessary. But the focus will surely be on bringing up an 87 team wRC+ that was sixth-worst in baseball. Williams says that the pitching strides came from “a combination of making smart trades, smart signings, the staff we brought in, the advancement in technology.” The Reds hope to replicate that blend with the bats this winter. The organization will anticipate “internal improvement” but won’t be content watching and hoping, he says. The Reds also intend to “add to the offensive side of the club.”

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Reds Rumors: Grandal, Bullpen, Senzel]]> 2019-10-02T05:13:29Z 2019-10-02T05:13:29Z Tuesday was an active one for the Reds, who made a few changes to their coaching staff. Here’s more from Cincinnati…

    • The Brewers’ season reached a heartbreaking end Tuesday, leaving the club to turn its attention to the offseason. One of its priorities could be re-signing catcher Yasmani Grandal, who will surely decline his half of a $16MM mutual option for 2020 in order to reach free agency for the second straight winter. As easily the premier catcher who’s on the verge of hitting the open market, Grandal figures to draw plenty of interest from outside clubs. Expectations are that the division-rival Reds will be among the teams that pursue Grandal, Jon Heyman of MLB Network reports. Now 30, Grandal began his pro career as the 12th overall pick of the Reds in 2010, but he never played a major league game in Cincinnati. The team traded Grandal to San Diego in a 2011 blockbuster, and he has blossomed into one of the majors’ elite catchers since then. Meanwhile, the Reds are coming off a year in which their catchers (primarily Tucker Barnhart and Curt Casali) posted mediocre production. If the Reds are going to upgrade over their current backstops with Grandal, though, they’ll undoubtedly need to put forth a significant offer. Grandal’s among the game’s top soon-to-be free agents, someone who’s ineligible to receive a qualifying offer after getting one last offseason, and it stands to reason he’ll be paid accordingly in the coming months.
    • The Reds will likely try to add one or two left-handers to their bullpen in the offseason, Bobby Nightengale of the Cincinnati Enquirer writes. Aside from Amir Garrett, no southpaw reliever the Reds tried for a decent sample of innings in 2019 was successful. Zach Duke and Wandy Peralta struggled so badly that the Reds cut ties with them before the year ended. Cody Reed enjoyed a promising 6 1/3-inning stretch in May, but a knee injury derailed his season toward the end of that month.
    • More from Nightengale, who reports the club’s “hopeful” it’ll have prized youngster Nick Senzel in the fold when the 2020 season opens. Senzel sat out the final four weeks of the regular season on account of a right shoulder injury that required surgery. Although Senzel spent the year in center field, it’s possible the Reds will add to that position this winter and move him back to the infield – specifically second base – next season, Nightengale notes. The upcoming free-agent class isn’t exactly teeming with obvious center field solutions, however.
    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[John Farrell Hopes To Manage Again]]> 2019-10-02T04:19:55Z 2019-10-02T04:15:30Z
  • Former big league skipper John Farrell remains interested in a third go-around as a manager, Rosenthal tweets. The 57-year-old last managed in 2017, when he oversaw a Red Sox team that finished 93-69 and earned an AL East title. Farrell managed three division winners and a World Series champion (2013) in Boston over five years, though he also guided two last-place clubs during his uneven reign. Prior to that, he managed the Blue Jays to a 154-170 record from 2011-12. Farrell has served as a scout and a pitching consultant in Cincinnati since 2018, and he interviewed for the Phillies’ and Reds’ managerial openings during the previous two offseasons.
  • ]]>
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Reds Hire Driveline Baseball’s Kyle Boddy, Promote Caleb Cotham]]> 2019-10-01T22:18:48Z 2019-10-01T21:51:23Z The Reds announced Tuesday that they’ve hired Kyle Boddy of Driveline Baseball to serve as the organization’s director of pitching initiatives/pitching coordinator. Boddy announced on Twitter that he will focus almost entirely on working to develop minor league pitchers in his new role with the Reds, but he’ll also remain with Driveline. The Reds also promoted assistant pitching coach Caleb Cotham, adding “director of pitching” to his title. Travis Sawchik of reports (via Twitter) that the division-rival Cubs also offered Boddy a position, but he opted for the Reds’ position.

    While Boddy will work more with the team’s minor league pitchers than the Major League pitchers, he’ll also “work closely with the Major League pitching department to ensure the pitching philosophies and protocols are consistent throughout the organization,” per the Reds.

    The Cincinnati organization has rapidly turned over its pitching infrastructure, not only bringing Boddy aboard but also adding Cotham and pitching coach Derek Johnson (formerly of the Brewers) in the past year. For those unfamiliar, Driveline (founded by Boddy) seeks to utilize technology and biomechanics to take a data-driven approach to pitching development. Its services have become increasingly popular among both Major League and college pitchers in recent years, with Cincinnati’s Trevor Bauer and Detroit’s Matthew Boyd among the more prominent names in the company’s clientele.

    The Reds, in recent seasons, have sought to bolster their utilization of technology and analytics in an attempt to stay competitive with the rising number of data-oriented front offices in today’s game. Manager David Bell’s coaching staff featured several members who’d previously worked in such organizations and, as such, were familiar with the best way to break down that type of information for players. They’ve also made multiple hires to add to their analytics department in the past couple of seasons.

    Cotham, a former Driveline client and Major League pitcher himself, is assuredly a part of that. He spent the 2019 season as the team’s assistant pitching coach but will now see his role increase in with the addition of “director of pitching” to his title. While the aforementioned Bauer has had an inconsistent season, both with the Indians and the Reds, there were other success stories under Johnson and Cotham, with Sonny Gray chief among them. Luis Castillo also returned to form after a shaky 2018 campaign, and Anthony DeSclafani arguably had the best season of his career.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Reds Will Not Retain Hitting Coach Turner Ward]]> 2019-10-01T15:58:11Z 2019-10-01T15:58:11Z Hitting coach Turner Ward will not return to the Reds for the 2020 season, the club announced today. He had been hired last fall as part of a revamped coaching staff under first-year manager David Bell.

    Ward came to Cincinnati after previously serving as the Dodgers’ hitting coach. President of baseball operations Dick Williams thanked Ward in a statement but explained that, “as we reflected on this season, it became clear that we lacked the alignment we were seeking with our offensive approach.”

    It seems the organization will return the remainder of Bell’s staff, though the announcement did not make that explicit. The Reds will now set out to find a new hitting voice to replace Ward.